The University will not relocate the Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson statues from the Main Mall on Saturday as planned, after the Texas division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested a temporary restraining order in state district court Friday afternoon. The University has agreed to wait to move the statues until the court has a chance to look at the case next week.
“President Fenves' decision to move the Jefferson Davis statue to UT's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History is both the right course forward and consistent with the law,” the press release said. “We are confident we will move ahead with these plans.”
Marshall Davis, Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesman, said the organization filed the temporary restraining order because of how quickly the statue relocation unfolded since a task force recommended it be relocated Monday.
“Of course we want the Jefferson Davis statue to stay, but we filed this because of the hastiness of the decision,” Davis said. “In this order we wanted all the parties to look at the ramifications and the original intent."
According to court documents, the Sons of Confederate Veterans said George Littlefield, a Confederate veteran and UT Regent, established a $250,000 trust fund that as part of it established the Littlefield fountain and the 6 statues in the Main Mall.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans also said in court documents that the University cannot remove the statue without the approval of the Texas Legislature, the Texas Historical Commission, or the State Preservation Board.
Following the Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary’s recommendations, University President Gregory Fenves announced Thursday that the University will relocate the Jefferson Davis statue to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History and the Woodrow Wilson statue elsewhere on campus to maintain symmetry in the space.
The statues were originally set to be removed Saturday at 10:30 a.m., according to an earlier University press release Friday.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested a restraining order. The group requested a temporary restraining order.